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04 February 201620:08

ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup Day 10 Preview

Full preview of all matches at U19 CWC Day 10 as Bangladesh U19 faces Nepal U19 in first Super League quarter-final, Zimbabwe U19 runs into Canada U19 and Afghanistan U19 takes on Fiji 19 in ninth-place playoff quarter-finals

ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup Day 10 Preview - Cricket News
Bangladesh U19 v Nepal U19, Super League Quarter-final 1

Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur

The ICC Under-19 World Cup 2016 has come alive in its second week, with the eight teams that have qualified for the Super League knockouts having pitched tent in Dhaka. The lobby of the hotel where the teams have been put up in the Nikunja area of the city was a beehive of activity on Thursday (February 4). The tournament security committee had its hands full, even as the Pakistani boys stuck with each other and the Sri Lankan coach kept his team entertained before taking them out for lunch. The Indians had a quiet meal on the hotel's 15th floor restaurant, while some of the English boys did some shopping in the boutique.

The excitement was best captured at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur where Bangladesh, the host nation, prepared for the tournament’s first quarter-final, against Nepal, on Friday.

Stuart Law, the team’s technical director, has already compared the media scrutiny that Bangladesh has subjected to so far with that of an Ashes contest, and things were no different on the eve of this do-or-die contest.

That Bangladesh is a step away from its first-ever semi-final appearance at any level was not lost on anyone. The local scribes were relentless in probing Mehedi Hasan Miraz to get an idea about the mood in the team, but the captain responded with composure.

“Bangladesh has never played a semi-final earlier, so I will feel good if we win against Nepal as it will be a big achievement,” Miraz said. “In the knockout, there is no scope for error. If we lose then we are gone, so the focus is on the quarter-final. We will give it our best.

“Since we are representing the nation and everyone has hopes on us, we have to think big,” he added. “We don’t have pressure, but (it) helps in setting a base. But, God forbid, something happens and we don’t win then there is nothing we can do. We will give 100% and get on to the field.”

That the locals who follow the game are genuinely excited about the business end of the event is because of the intelligent cricket Bangladesh has played to remain unbeaten so far.

In the opening game in Chittagong, the batsmen displayed enormous patience to post 240 for 7 against South Africa, the defending champion, before the spinners did their bit in a 43-run win. Then, on the slow pitches in Cox’s Bazar, Nazmul Hossain Shanto scored a century in a 114-run win against Scotland, while the spinners architected an eight-wicket victory over Namibia to top the group.

Bangladesh would be particularly happy with the form of Nazmul, Mohammad Saifuddin, Saleh Ahmed Shawon and Miraz himself.

While Nazmul is the tournament’s fourth-highest run-getter with an aggregate of 200 in three games, Saifuddin, the right-arm medium-pacer, and Shawon, the left-arm spinner, have seven wickets each and Miraz, the off-spinner, has accounted for six scalps.

Bangladesh will also be pleased that both Nazmul and Miraz now sit at the top of their respective charts in the history of Under-19 cricket. While Nazmul surpassed Pakistan’s Sami Aslam (1,695) and now tallies 1,761 runs in 55 games, Miraz has 74 wickets in 53 matches, one better than Pakistan’s Imad Wasim.

Miraz, also the most capped captain at this level with 45 games as skipper, was obviously proud of his achievements and looked forward to leading the team in a knockout game at home.

“There is definitely excitement in leading the team to the quarterfinal at home and it gives me a lot of motivation,” he said. “I enjoy leadership because all players, seniors and juniors, support me. Everyone is performing and doing well, and as captain that is what motivates me.”

Bangladesh managed to see just one hour of Nepal’s game against India on television, but has recorded the entire footage. It has analysed that Nepal has good strikers, but Mohammad Mizanur Rahman, the coach, felt it could work to his bowlers’ advantage.

“They want to score, but since they go for their shots, it can be good (for us),” Rahman said.

Even as the Bangladesh team was wrapping up its practice, Nepal arrived for its session as the festive mood gave way to a more ordinary day. Nepal, more than any other team, will know how capable it is of changing perceptions.

Even if it was routed by India and was subsequently in the news for an alleged age-related controversy involving Raju Rijal, its captain, the wins against New Zealand and Ireland, time spent with Rahul Dravid and the support of its fans in the stands should keep it warm.

Bangladesh had come into the tournament on the back of four series wins and one triangular competition final appearance, and according to its coach has been visualising playing the World Cup at home for more than a year now, while Nepal came through the qualifier route. The background counts for little in a pressure situation and Nepal will be keen to exploit that angle.

If it wins the toss and focuses on rotating the strike as advised by Dravid, then a score of 220 or 230 would give its spinners, who have been at the forefront of the campaign so far, a real chance of creating another upset.

No matter what the result, the expectedly large holiday crowd is assured of something special.

Teams (from):

Bangladesh U19: Mehedi Hassan Miraz (capt), Nazmul Hossain, Joyraj Sheik, Pinak Ghosh, Saif Hassan, Zakir Hasan (wk), Mohammad Saifuddin, Shafiul Hayat, Saeed Sarkar, Mehedi Hasan Rana, Abdul Halim, Saleh Ahmed, Ariful Islam, Jaker Ali, Mossabek Hossain Sun.

Nepal U19: Raju Rijal (capt), Dipendra Airee, MD Sunil Dhamala, Himanshu Dutta, Sushil Kandel, Kushal Bhurtel, Yogendra Karki, Sandeep Lamichhane, Ishan Pandey, Shankar Rana, Prem Tamang, Arif Sheikh, Sandeep Sunar, Dipesh Shrestha, Rajbir Singh.

Zimbabwe U19 v Canada U19, 9th place play-off quarter-final

Sheik Kamal International Cricket Stadium Academy Ground

The first step towards Zimbabwe’s recovery after a hard-to-digest loss against West Indies will come against Canada in its Plate Championship opener at the Sheik Kamal International Cricket Stadium Academy Ground. For all the talk of it being unlucky to lose against West Indies in the manner that it did, the fact of the matter is that had it fared a tad better in either department, it could have secured victory before it got to that stage.

Zimbabwe could have used more runs from its top order, and Brandon Mavuta, the captain, said there was a need to keep wickets intact, especially in the early overs. “We have worked on it in the nets. Our aim is to not lose wickets in the first Power Play,” said Mavuta. “If we do that, it will extend the possibility of lasting the whole 50 overs with the bat. We need to last the first ten overs without losing wickets. We are working on it and with a little more application, it will hopefully go our way tomorrow.”

As far as Canada is concerned, its bowlers did well to chip away during the group stages, but that was offset by its batsmen, who showed a lack of composure and a worrying tendency to throw away their scalps. Zimbabwe’s bowlers did well against West Indies, and a similar performance here can prove too much for Canada. And from what Mavuta said, Zimbabwe is just itching to get on with the game.

Teams (from):

Zimbabwe U19: Brandon Mavuta (capt), Trevvor Chibvongodze, Jeremy Ives, Adam Keefe, Kundai Matigimu, William Mashinge, Wessly Madhevere, Rugare Magarira, Sydney Murombo, Ryan Murray, Richard Ngarava, Akshay Patel, Brendan Sly, Shaun Snyder, Milton Shumba.

Canada U19: Abraash Khan (capt), Bhavindu Adhihetty, Thursaanth Anantharajah, Akash Gill, Abdul Haseeb, Wijayaraj, Suliman Khan, Arslan Khan, Mamik Luthra, Miraj Patel, Shlok Patel, Kurt Ramdath, Sarbot Sivia, Harsh Thaker, Amish Taploo, Prushoth.

Afghanistan U19 v Fiji U19, 9th place play-off quarter-final

Sheik Kamal International Cricket Stadium

Throughout the league phase of the tournament, Ihsanullah Janat, the Afghanistan captain, insisted his team was setting the bar high, that it was aiming to win the World Cup. However, its batsmen have just been unable to keep their wickets intact – it was dismissed for 126 in the opener against Pakistan, then 151 against Sri Lanka, and also lost six wickets to Canada in a seemingly easy chase of 148.

The affliction isn’t likely to cost it against Fiji, which is playing its maiden World Cup and for whom the tournament is more a learning curve than anything else – it was soundly beaten in all its group matches. However, Afghanistan should keep in mind that the winner of this clash will face New Zealand in the 9th place playoff semi-final, and that perhaps, this is a good chance for its batsmen to tighten up.

Teams (from):

Afghanistan U19: Ihsanullah Janat (capt), Zia-ur-Rehman Akbar, Zahir Ahmadzai, Qais Hassan, Karim Janat, Ikram Ali Khail, Shamsurrahman Wali Khail, Zahir Khan, Muslim Musa, Nijat Masood, Parwiz Malikzai, Nasir Omar, Naveed Obaid, Waheed Shafaq, Tariq Stanikzai.

Fiji U19: Saimoni Tuitoga (capt), Josaia Baleicikoibia, Malakai Cokovaki, Petero Cabebula, Jack Charters, Jordan Dunham, Vaibhav Kapadia, Delaimatuku Maraiwai, Ledua Qionivoka, Samuel Saunokonoko, Cakacaka Tikoisuva, Peni Vuniwaqa, Sosiceni Weleilakeba, Tuwai Yabaki.